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Scots in Argentina
One Goal — Different Roads

"And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God...

On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates...

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." Revelation 21, verses 10, 13, 25.

In the Argentine we do not suffer from lack of denominations in Christian work. Here are some that occur readily: Adventist, Baptist, Brethren, Church of England, Church of Scotland, Disciples, Lutheran, Menonite, Methodist, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic.

One cannot wonder that, to some, it is all very bewildering. To the cynic it is as meat to the hungry. And yet the spirit of cooperation and brotherhood grows in strength and expands in ‘sphere.

The above text may serve to direct our ‘thoughts along helpful channels. John, the Apostle, had an inspired vision of Heaven, the Holy Jerusalem. In his words are to be found breathings of that atmosphere in which Union and Concord is possible and probable under God.

Is it straining the context too much, or is it too late in the day, or is it too trite to suggest that men may reach the Holy Jerusalem (1) out of different churches—perhaps sometimes out of no Church at all; (2) after different spiritual experiences.

(1) Out of different churches! The mark of’ exclamation is almost necessary, so startlingly unthinkable is anything else. If you speak the English language you may go along Calle Beigrano, or Charcas, or Corrientes, or Estados Unidos, or 25 de Mayo to worship God in Buenos Aires. What then? At the end of the day will the street or the church matter much? Can you imagine that at the pearly gates and golden you will be asked your denomination? "There shall be one flock (not "fold" as wrongly translated) and one shepherd." Scotland’s greatest theologian at the end of last century said that a sufficient creed for all true believers was — "I believe in God through Christ". You might be asked if you believe that. And you have certainly sung the sentiment— "Just as I am without one plea But that Thy blood was shed for me."

If we are to meet above, it were well that we began practising it below. What is right in Heaven can hardly be wrong on Earth. Many roads lead to Buenos Aires and the traveller is free to chose as he will. But these roads all converge on the ctiy and meet there. And the Celestial City has twelve gates. From whatever direction he approaches, the pilgrim has a gate of welcome—ever open.

(2) After different spiritual experiences. In what a multitude of ways have different men, even in the same Church, come to believe in God through Christ. Just here lies the danger that we should stereotype the experience, and ultimately come to think that those who have not our experience, or have not travelled our way, cannot be truly saved. St. Paul discovered Christ through blood and fire on the road to Damascus. Timothy entered the Kingdom quietly through a godly mother’s and grandmother’s influence. One entered by the sterner north gate, the other by the balmier south. Some come through the East gate when they are young; some through the West gate when they are old. God alone is the judge.

"Home by different ways. Yet all
Homeward bound through prayer and praise;
Young with old and great with small;
Home by different ways."

(3). And the gates shall not be shut. Yet we on earth seem so often to be shutting gates instead of keeping them open. "I’m afraid you cannot take Communion here as you are not a Communicant of this Church." "I’m sorry", said the stranger, "I thought this was the Lord’s table."

Do you remember a scene in David Copperfield? Old Mr. Peggotty and his niece Em’ly lived together in the Boat House near the shore. Every evening at dusk, the old man opened the door, and then placed a lighted candle in the window to show little Em’ly the way home. But one evening she did not return. She had run away, and the old man’s heart was nigh broken. But love still triumphed and he resolved to travel the world if haply he might find her. At the same time he decided to leave someone in the old boathouse to welcome her if she should come back. Here are his last instructions: "My wishes is, sir, as how the old house shall look, day and night, as it has always looked. If ever she should come a-wandering back, I wouldn’t have the old place seem to cast her off, you understand, but rather seem to tempt her to draw nigher to’t, and to peep in, may be, like a ghost out of the wind and rain, through the winder at the old seat by the fire. Every night, as reg’lar as the night comes, the candle must be stood in its old pane of glass, that if ever she should creep home and see it, it may seem to say —‘Come back, my child, come back. ".

Heaven’s welcome will hardly be less to them that believe. For One is waiting there who trod a rougher road than we, whose loving Heart knows, whose words were not "him that cometh. from such and such a church", but "him that cometh unto ME I will in no wise cast out."

"When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death
Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven TO ALL BELIEVERS".

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